Finally! I got myself motivated and caffeinated enough to finish my quilt (here’s Part I). Since I’m not expert on the subject of quilting in general or binding in specific, I won’t deign to call this any sort of tutorial or anything. I am, however, feeling quite fantastic with myself now that it’s all done.
I used a good quality white sheet for the backing, a thinner cotton/poly (80/20) blend for the batting, and a coordinating orange quilter’s cotton for the binding (from my local quilting store… The Quilting Season). I chose that color because it matched my nursery chair, a smallish armchair that fit me like Goldilocks in Little Bear’s bed. I found it for $30 at our local PTO thrift shop… perfect condition, so comfy, and unabashedly orange. I knew it was coming home with me…
The quilting itself was a mish-mash. I started out by using a walking foot with a rounded, meandering sort of stitch to mimic hand quilting down the major seams. I looked good, but I needed to do even more stitching in order to properly follow the directions on the batting, which calls for a spacing of no more than 4 inches between stitch lines. That forced me to pull out my “Big Foot”… a special darning foot designed for free motion quilting. I had done a very small amount of free motion work for past projects, and (with so many small people around) I’m practically an expert at darning at this point. But quilting a big thing was more challenging, especially since I don’t have a quilting table. Still, I have to call it very successful. I have some puckers which I won’t point out… I’m sure more practice could have made that work out better. But it’s finished. I have to again reference the amazing Jodi from SewFearless… she and I were chatting recently about running into a wall with some projects, simply being paralyzed by the idea of a project not turning out as great as we had hoped. Her wise husband had said, “You can always make it better, if by better you mean never finished.” Well said!
So, after stalling out after the quilting for a couple weeks, I tackled the binding. I made a straight-grain strip 3.5” wide (sewing shorter strips together), folded it in half widthwise , ironed, then stitched it onto the top side of my quilt, leaving a 1/2” seam allowance around which to wrap it. I did my corners using this technique… it really worked well and turned out beautifully. I hand-stitched the binding to the back of the quilt for a smooth, uncluttered look. That last bit of work was well-worth it for the great results. I didn’t have enough fabric to allow bias binding, but I’m hoping the double layer of straight-grain will increase it’s longevity. Time will tell.
Really... I just love how it turned out! I love the colors. I love the pattern. I love the binding. I enjoyed the process so much more than with any of my previous quilts, and I think it’s because this one involved more craftsmanship and time investment, but it wasn’t tedious work. That really did translate into a better finished product… who would have guessed? It’s certainly no masterpiece, but for a quilt I intend to use regularly, display prominently, and launder normally, it’s even better than I had hoped. And, what’s more, I learned a few things while making it. Bonus!